विविक्तपदमज्ञाय किमसत्कर्मभिर्भवेत् ॥ १८ ॥
kim asat-karmabhir bhavet
aiśvaram — bringing understanding of God, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness; śāstram — the Vedic literature; utsṛjya — giving up; bandha — of bondage; mokṣa — and of liberation; anudarśanam — informing about the ways; vivikta-padam — distinguishing spirit from matter; ajñāya — not knowing; kim asat-karmabhiḥ bhavet — what can be the use of temporary fruitive activities.
[Nārada Muni had spoken of a swan. That swan is explained in this verse.] The Vedic literatures [śāstras] vividly describe how to understand the Supreme Lord, the source of all material and spiritual energy. Indeed, they elaborately explain these two energies. The swan [haṁsa] is one who discriminates between matter and spirit, who accepts the essence of everything, and who explains the means of bondage and the means of liberation. The words of scriptures consist of variegated vibrations. If a foolish rascal leaves aside the study of these śāstras to engage in temporary activities, what will be the result?
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very eager to present Vedic literature in modern languages, especially Western languages such as English, French and German. The leaders of the Western world, the Americans and Europeans, have become the idols of modern civilization because the Western people are very sophisticated in temporary activities for the advancement of material civilization. A sane man, however, can see that all such grand activities, although perhaps very important for temporary life, have nothing to do with eternal life. The entire world is imitating the materialistic civilization of the West, and therefore the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very much interested in giving the Western people knowledge by translating the original Sanskrit Vedic literatures into Western languages.
The word vivikta-padam refers to the path of logical discourses concerning the aim of life. If one does not discuss that which is important in life, one is put into darkness and must struggle for existence. What, then, is the benefit of his advancement in knowledge? The people of the West are seeing their students becoming hippies, despite gorgeous arrangements for university education. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, however, is trying to convert misguided, drug-addicted students to the service of Kṛṣṇa and engage them in the best welfare activities for human society.